Top 5 Friday: Hilarious Game Tropes

Playing video games requires a pretty hefty amount of suspension of disbelief.  Virtually everything about gaming revolves around the player doing things they wouldn’t normally be able to do.  Most of the time, it works pretty well.  There are certain ridiculous things we’ve come to completely take for granted though.  So, without further ado, here are my 5 favorite hilariously dumb gaming tropes.

  1. Eating to heal

Eating to heal cracks me up; an entire ham or turkey just seems to pop out of a broken garbage can, often times complete with platter and silverware.  You proceed to eat the entire thing which somehow manages to instantly heal any wounds you may have.  Now, I’m no doctor but I’m pretty sure that meat doesn’t have any sort of inherent healing power.  In fact, anyone who’s ever enjoyed a Thanksgiving dinner can probably attest to the fact that eating a mountain of turkey actually makes you feel worse.  What’s even funnier is that presumably, the action stops while you eat all this food.  It’s as though there were some hidden article in the Geneva Convention stating that a hungry enemy combatant must be given time (during combat) to enjoy a full meal.

  1. Impassable places.

If I were being chased through a creaky old house by brain-eating zombies and I came upon a locked door I would kick or shoulder smash that thing open in about 30 seconds.  No key, no problem.  It’s even more ridiculous when it’s Lara Croft or Ezio who can’t vault over a 3 foot crate because apparently you’re just not supposed to go over there.  I realize why that stuff is there, I mean the game world has to end somewhere, but it’s still really stupid to put stuff in your way that you could clearly get around given the game’s mechanics.

I was playing Lords of the Fallen the other night and my character came upon some rubble he couldn’t walk over.  I mean, the stuff came up to his knees.  I just finished flipping and dodging and stabbing my way past 100 different demons but this gravel defeated me.  It just makes me laugh that level designers can’t think of anything better than to put some clearly traversable object in front of a path they don’t want you to take.

  1. Psychotic RPG logic

    This vile beast clearly needs to die.

Most games employ some skewed morality.  I mean, a lot of people die in video games, and most of the time it’s not treated as a terribly big deal.  RPGs, and MMOs specifically, take this to a whole new level though.  The typical, “Kill 10 Orcs,” quest is pretty messed up when you think about.  Some random guy asks you to murder 10 people (and often times to bring back a piece of them as proof) and then happily pays you for your trouble.  Most of the time, said baddies are just hanging out in their own area, not overtly bothering you anyway.  Maybe they have families, too.  What happens to their spouses and kids?  Everyone is fine with this too!  You get paid, you get loot, and everyone is happy with how much you’ve helped the community…by murdering and beheading innocent creature after innocent creature.  It’s all rainbows and sunshine.

  1. AI

Let’s just get this out in the open; AI in video games is stupid.  Even really smart AI is often times just stupid.  Open world games specifically have some absolutely absurd AI.  NPCs say the same lines over and over, they run the same patterns, they attack the same way.  I also have to love how stupid the police are in games like Grand Theft Auto where hiding out for three minutes simply erases the 72 murders you just committed.  My absolute favorite is the AI in stealth games though.  You stealth around, get caught, run and hide, and then the guard just goes back to patrolling like nothing ever happened.  If that was me, I’d be screaming to my bloody murder until every guard in the place swarmed my position.  We’d smoke that sneaky devil out in a hot minute.  But that wouldn’t be too fun for the player I guess.  Still, it makes me laugh how incredibly short the memory of the average guard is.

  1. Inventory

    I may need to see a chiropractor after this.

Apparently every single video game character has super strength, at least if you look at the amount of junk they typically carry around with them.  Skyrim has a weight system, but it’s utterly absurd.  By the time you’ve met the weight limit (without even improving it) you’re carrying like 12 outfits, 8 swords, 15 pelts, and a tea pot.  World of Warcraft used to make you carry around your mounts like items, so you’d effectively carry your horse in your backpack.  Hermione would be proud.  Pretty much every game that has a proper inventory system lets you carry a ludicrous amount of stuff with you.  I’m not saying I have a better alternative, or that I even care, but it’s another one of those wonderful, scratch-your-head type of moments that video games naturally provide.